The answer to the question ‘do male dogs have nipples’ is surprisingly simple: yes. In fact, almost all mammals of both sexes have nipples, with some exceptions such as male rats, male platypuses, and male mice. The more complicated question is why do male dogs have nipples?
How Many Nipples Do Male Dogs Have?
The nipples on a male dog are found in the same place as they are on a female dog. They run in two lines down the abdomen, pair by pair. The nipples are pretty much the same, regardless if the dog is a neutered male, a spayed female, an intact male, or an intact female, although there are some differences in female nipples compared to male nipples.
The number of nipples on a dog, depends on the size. A larger breed dog can have ten nipples in five pairs. A smaller dog can have eight nipples in four pairs. Although, it is possible for some dogs to have more or less.
What Do The Nipples On A Male Dog Look Like?
If you have a long haired breed, you might never have seen your dog’s nipples. If your dog has a short haired coat, then you may have noticed his nipples. Male nipples look very similar to female nipples. They are small, round bumps. They may be the same color as your dog’s skin color, under his coat, or they may be a different color. Both are completely normal, and nothing to worry about.
Do The Nipples Have Names?
The nipples on a male dog actually have names. The names relate to where on the body they are. Assuming that the dog has ten nipples, the first pair of nipples are closest to the front legs, and are called the cranial thoracic nipples. After them comes a pair of caudal thoracic nipples followed by the cranial abdominal nipples, and the caudal abdominal nipples. The last are of nipples are near the groin and are called the inguinal nipples.
Why Do Male Dogs Have Nipples?
Female mammals have nipples to feed milk to their babies, so it seems pretty pointless for male animals to have nipples. Most male mammals have no role in feeding the offspring, so why do male dogs have nipples?
It’s nothing to do with feeding. Nipples are what’s called a rudimentary state. When a mammal, in this case a dog is conceived, it begins to develop as am embryo. Before it develops its sex, it develops other body parts first, and nipples are developed in this first developmental stage. Basically at the initial developmental stages, all embryos are exactly the same. As the puppy continues to grow in the womb, it develops other parts of its body, including the hormones that determine whether it’s a girl or a boy.
As there’s no evolutionary necessity to change the development process, male dogs have nipples. Another example of a rudimentary state would be the pelvic bones in whales. They no longer have a purpose, but they don’t cause any harm so they haven’t been eradicated through natural selection.
Can Male Dogs Have Problems With Their Nipples?
Generally speaking, nipples won’t cause your dog any issues. They tend to be harmless, quite useless, but harmless. However, that doesn’t mean that you can completely ignore them. Make checking your dog’s nipples part of his routine so that your will notice any changes as soon as possible. Some changes may be completely benign, but others can have a more sinister cause.
- Changes In Size
Changes in the size of your dogs nipples can be a cause for concern. Enlarged nipples can be a symptom of testicular cancer. Testicular cancer can affect both neutered and intact male dogs, but it is much more common in intact dogs. If you notice that your dog has enlarged nipples, you should look for other common symptoms, such as swelling in the abdomen, symmetrical hair loss, pain in the abdomen, and anemia. You may also notice other male dogs becoming overly interested in yours.
Even if you don’t notice any of these other signs, you should still contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. If your dog is diagnosed with testicular cancer, then there will be two treatment options. If he is intact, then neutering can remove all of cancer. If he is neutered then he may need to have chemotherapy treatment. However, testicular cancer is not usually aggressive and doesn’t often spread to other areas. This means that in most cases, the prognosis is very positive.
- Changes In Color
It’s common for your dog’s nipples to change color over a period of time. In most cases, this is nothing more than a sign of aging. Both male and female dog’s nipples can go through a color change as they get older. A change in color in younger female dog could be a symptom of mastitis, but it’s not a condition male dogs can get.
- Not Actually A Nipple
Most owners will panic when they see or feel anything out of the ordinary, and sometime may mistake a nipple for a tick. It’s happened to most of us, so it’s really nothing to feel bad about. If you aren’t sure if what you’re feeling is a nipple, or possibly a tick, have a look at it. If the bump is fully attached to your dog’s body, then it’s a nipple, or a mole, or a scab. If it looks like it’s partially buried into his flesh, then it’s more than likely a tick. You can remove ticks yourself, but you do need to be sure that you’ve removed all of the tick, and not just the body.
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